Following a planting plan has been one of the major hurdles I’ve had in my gardening life. I tend to visualize a specific garden plan, roughly draw it out on paper, jot down a few plant ideas, then dig in. I rarely stick to the original design. I often plop plants here and there as an idea pops into my head. This design method has served me well for many years. Yes, I’ve had to redo some areas, but my gardens generally look pretty good. However, using this method means I rarely plot out any completed project. Kind of explains why I forget where bulbs are planted, hey?
Now that I’m studying to be a landscape designer, my visual design methods must be usurped by the more exact process of computer aided drafting. The AutoSketch program I’m conquering as part of this course has opened my eyes to the beauty of this method. Now that I’m feeling more comfortable using the program I’m beginning to visualize my ideas in CAD format.
The last lesson in my course involved surveying an actual property containing at least one house. Weather, schedules, and life in general prevented me from completing this lesson as quickly as I had wanted, but in reality so did my choice to survey my own house and gardens. The course lesson recommended choosing a small, relatively simple site, which mine is not. Still, I figured if I could accurately survey my own property, moving on to less complicated sites in later lessons would be a piece of cake. It was a long lesson but it’s done. I learned how to plot stone walls, curved and straight walkways, angled and circular planting beds, large trees and small shrubs, decks, fences, woodlands, lawns, and driveways, in addition to a house. I also learned how to slice a large drawing in half – without destroying portions of either half – so the survey can be printed on smaller sheets of paper. All things I need to know to work in landscape design, plus I now have my own property surveyed which will come in handy for future home landscape projects.
Now that the survey lesson is under my belt, I’ve moved onto concept plans – the part that lays out existing planting and hardscape designs and ideas to alter, improve, or completely redo them. This lesson sounds fun. I’ll get to practice using plant, hardscape, furniture, and other symbols, do an elevation drawing, and generally make computer aided drawings more interesting from a design aspect.
In my own gardens, I’m trying to plot out – via keyboard – any existing aspects, and my ideas for changes before I commit shovel to soil. Not only will this give me extra practice using the CAD program it will, for the first time in all these decades of gardening, give me actual plans. that document where I’ve planted what.
What a concept! Instead of plopping, I’ll plot plants – at least those in the ground.